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Issue Home March 9, 2004 Site Home

A Visit To The Ransom Dairy Farm
Jackson Post Office Honors Veterinarian
Engagement Announced Price – Rossi
Wedding Announced Clapper - Lindquist
Spotlight Is On Underground R.R.
Shamrocks Battle Muscular Dystrophy
David Schwartz Earns Top Sales Honor
Farmers To Apply For Conservation Programs

A Visit To The Ransom Dairy Farm

Recently I visited Levi and LuAnn Ransom to ask them some questions about their farm, which I chose to spotlight this month. The Ransom’s own 328 acres known as "The Ransomed Ransom Dairy Farm", located just off route 81 near the town of Lenoxville. They rent an additional 236 acres. Ransom’s harvest 300 acres of corn and grass hay and use 30 acres of the farmland as pasture.

Susquehanna County Dairy Princess Shana Mack, of Kingsley with Levi and LuAnn Ransom.

Ransom’s have three sons, Bradley, Tim and Aaron who help part-time on the farm. Levi and LuAnn were both raised on farms; Levi on the farm he now owns and LuAnn on her parents’ farm until she was about 5 years old. The Ransom’s farm is a four generation farm. Levi’s grandfather owned the farm and it has been passed down generation by generation.

Ransom’s have a tie-stall and free stall barn. They are milking about 90 head and have 75 calves and replacement heifers. The heifers, from eight months until they are bred are housed at Borove’s, a neighboring farm. In the barn is a robot called "Alfa," a robotic feeder. Alfa feeds each cow 4 to 12 pounds of feed, four times a day.

Ransom’s have received the Dairy Distinction Award, Conservation Awards for their barnyard and manure pit and also the No-Till Farmer of the Year Award.

While I was visiting, the Ransom’s had a few interesting stories to tell me. One was, due to a freak storm in November of 1989 their barn burned down. As an insurance agent, ironically was driving down route 81 he watched the lightening bolt hit the silo and then bounce onto the roof of the farm. LuAnn was down the road at the time and Levi happened to be in the house, not realizing that his barn was on fire until he looked up and saw the smoke out of the window. Levi, being the brave farmer went into the barn and started leading cows out into the pasture where LuAnn and their son Bradley kept the cows from going back into the barn. Pleading with her husband to leave the cows and stop going back in, Levi refused and said, "I’ll get them, don’t worry." Within minutes before the ceiling collapsed Levi was able to save his entire herd of dairy cows. They also were able to save all the milking equipment.

I would like to thank the Ransom’s for letting me visit their farm and for sharing with me their scary, but interesting story.

Dairy message: Many dairy farms are multi-generational businesses that are family owned and operated. Each takes pride in contributing to the well being of their community. Milk has more minerals, including potassium than leading sports drinks. Dairy’s powerful package of calcium plus eight key nutrients fuels your body, not just your bones.

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Jackson Post Office Honors Veterinarian

Dr. Margaret Stinavage-Kipps, owner of Elk Trails Veterinary Clinic, located near West Clifford, was recently presented with a framed sheet of Neuter & Spay Commemorative stamps in recognition of Spay & Neuter Month. The presentation was made by Jackson Postmaster, Diane Stanley.

Pictured (l-r) are Diane Stanley, Postmaster with her kitten, Molly and Dr. Kipps, with her cat Toby.

Pet overpopulation is not an easy problem to solve. If cats are allowed to reproduce for only one year, two cats can be the progenitors of over 170,000 cats in seven years.

Because puberty occurs prior to six months of age in some dogs and cats, it may be desirable to neuter animals prior to puberty to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.

Both the American Humane Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association support the practice of early spaying and neutering as a feasible solution to decreasing pet overpopulation and the tragedy of resulting deaths.

Dr. Kipps recommends spaying or neutering at 3 1/2 or 4 months of age before puberty. Animal shelters have plenty of animals over this age which could still be safely spayed or neutered. A spay or neuter certificate is provided at adoption to cover the expense.

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Engagement Announced Price – Rossi

Announcement is made of the engagement and upcoming marriage of Kristi L. Price to Joseph Rossi, both of Union Dale, PA.

The bride elect (pictured) is the daughter of Gene and Donna Price, Thompson. She is a graduate of Susquehanna Community High School and Marywood University, Scranton. Miss Price is a teacher at Valley View Middle School, Archbald, PA.

The prospective bridegroom is the son of the late Patrick Hoban. He is a graduate of Susquehanna Community High School and is employed by PENNDOT.

A wedding is planned for July 12, 2004 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

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Wedding Announced Clapper - Lindquist

Linda Clapper and Michael Lindquist are happy to announce their marriage on Saturday, February 14, 2004.

Mr. and Mrs. Michael (Linda) Lindquist.

The couple were married at the Lanesboro Community Church, with a reception at the Moose Lodge.

They are living in Susquehanna, PA.

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Spotlight Is On Underground R.R.

Montrose, PA - Thought to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, the Silver Lake Bank building on Church Street, Montrose will soon resume its place as a pivotal center of community activity. Thanks in part to funding from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region (EMHR), renovations to the historic building will be started soon. Built in 1816 by Dr. Robert Hutchinson Rose, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

It serves now as headquarters, educational center and museum for the Center for Anti Slavery Studies (C.A.S.S.) a local non-profit organization formed in 1996. The group is focused on promotion and recognition of the early history of the Underground Railroad and Abolition Movement in Susquehanna County and preserving the rich heritage of 1800-1900.

The Silver Lake Bank is the oldest building in Montrose and once housed the first bank in northeastern Pennsylvania. The EMHR grant of $50,000 for renovating the structure requires an equal amount of matching funds and administration costs of $4,800.

Completing the project is expected to cost $164,800. In addition to the EMHR award C.A.S.S. received $50,000 from the National Park Service Save America's Treasures program. Donations from Proctor & Gamble and Taylor Meat Packing Companies for $22,000 are also earmarked for renovations.

The renovation project grew out of a previous Endless Mountains Heritage Region grant of $25,000 to help C.A.S.S. develop long-range plans. Those funds were used to discover, collect artifacts and preserve history relating to the Abolition Movement and Underground Railroad in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

EMHR grants and guidance are especially valuable for C.A.S.S., according to Sherman Wooden, president of the organization. "It has enabled C.A.S.S. to research and discover a wealth of history and knowledge in this region and the important role that this region and persons played in the early development of this nation," he explained.

During the 1800's Montrose played an important part in the Underground Railroad, a network of free blacks and white abolitionists who helped escaped slaves flee north to freedom. Between 50,000 to 100,000 slaves sought freedom in Northern States and Canada, from 1818 to 1865.

Slave-catchers, armed with warrants to arrest fugitive slaves once roamed Montrose streets only to be foiled by abolitionists like Horace Brewster. Brewster's activities were documented in "Waiting for the Lord," a book by Debra Adleman, a Susquehanna County Historian available through C.A.S.S. "EMHR has provided excellent guidance and encouragement in our efforts to research the rich history that is in this region pertaining to the Abolition Movement and the Underground Railroad System," Wooden said.

He credited EMHR workshops and seminars, networking together as instrumental to the group's mission. "This technical assistance has helped motivate us to try harder and work to finish our dreams of bringing this region alive with individuals searching for answers that cannot be found in textbooks," Wooden said.

The town's founding fathers were an intricate part of an Anti-Slavery Society formed in 1836. These prominent townsmen, doctors, judges, businessmen and ministers were "conductors" of the Underground Railroad who dedicated their wealth and resources to help the cause, sometimes hiding fugitives in their own homes. C.A.S.S. has identified 18 sites in Montrose, including their headquarters that served as stops on the Underground Railroad.

Between 1793 and 1866, Abolition activities were against federal law in the United States. Secret activities throughout the Endless Mountains Region between 1836 and 1866, such as the Underground Railroad, are now of great interest and importance to both historians and visitors from local, national and international levels.

"It has added a new and positive importance to Montrose as a main place for escaping slaves," Wooden said. "But a very special place for those who settled here to preserve the "Rights of Human Beings" no matter what their religion, race or creed. Montrose stands for other communities throughout the Northeast part of Pennsylvania that served as havens or homes to lots of groups of individuals seeking freedom and a chance to succeed in this new country."

In 1840 the Silver Lake Bank building belonged to Abolitionist Francis Blake Chandler, whose wife was the daughter of Judge Jessup, a member of the Anti-Slavery Society. The Anti-Slavery Society spawned the Liberty Party, which later evolved into the Republican Party.

The resistance to slavery in Susquehanna County resulted in many escaped slaves settling here and in the surrounding region, rather than continuing on to Canada. The African-American population in Susquehanna County grew, from nine to 247 in the century between 1800 and 1900, through support of local Abolitionists. Local oral traditions indicate, between 1840-65 the Silver Lake Bank building served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The building fits Endless Mountains Heritage Region's criteria of a historic site worthy of preservation and capable of generating regional and national heritage visitor interest.

"We have a story to tell and the people here have the history and homes to share with others who are interested in searching for answers about the early development of this region and the country," Wooden said.

Exterior renovation plans include painting, excavation of foundation to resolve moisture problems, new roofs on the building and porches, new porch flooring, replacement of front steps, deteriorated wood siding and gutters and drains. Interior work will include a new furnace, appliances, bathroom fixtures, energy efficient windows, wallpaper replacement and painting.

Members of C.A.S.S. are helping accomplish EMHR goals though inventorying or acquiring local historic sites connected with Abolitionist history, interpreting and presenting this little-known portion of regional history.

Although closed for repairs, the Silver Lake Bank Building will soon be used to host a variety of events such as community and regional meetings, and fundraising events such as luncheons, teas, and receptions. Continuing education classes, exhibitions, displays, shows, performances and multi-cultural studies are planned following renovations.

C.A.S.S. was instrumental in gaining recognition for the achievements of the Honorable Jonathan Jasper Wright, the first Black admitted into the bar in Pennsylvania. Judge Wright's birthday has been celebrated with special ceremonies at the Susquehanna County Courthouse for several years, educating the public about this notable, native son. Through C.A.S.S. efforts a historic marker was dedicated, in Springville in 2001, in honor of Judge Wright.

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Shamrocks Battle Muscular Dystrophy

Tucson, AZ – In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, millions of Americans will participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Shamrocks Against Dystrophy program. The popular MDA tradition, led by internationally renowned singer Maureen McGovern, runs from now through March 17.

Patrons of thousands of retailers nationwide, including supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations and restaurants, are supporting the fight against neuromuscular diseases by buying and signing $1 and $5 Shamrock mobiles to hang in the business locations.

"I understand the importance of every dollar raised for MDA," said McGovern, whose teen-aged niece is affected by one of the diseases in MDA’s program. "MDA’s services help improve the life of a child I love, and the Association has developed treatments that give my family hope for a cure. Tens of thousands of families across the country rely on MDA for its life-enhancing services and its lifesaving research," she added.

In 2003, Shamrocks Against Dystrophy, the nation’s largest charitable campaign associated with St. Patrick’s Day, raised more than $12 million through the efforts of volunteers, participating businesses and donors.

For more information about MDA or the Shamrocks program, call (800) 572–1717.

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David Schwartz Earns Top Sales Honor

Wayne, PA – David W. Schwartz, a registered representative with Pennstar Bank in Montrose, has earned PLANCO’s highest honor – membership in the 2003 Captain’s Club. PLANCO, a wholesaler of investment and insurance products, distinguishes those representatives who produce over $1 million in sales in a calendar year with Captain’s Club membership.

David has assisted clients with their investment and retirement planning by strategically matching their needs with corresponding investment products offered by The Hartford, one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services operations.

The Captain’s Club members, using the marketing materials, wholesaling resources, and the services of The Hartford and PLANCO to their fullest potential, not only make the selling process smoother, but are also able to make the client feel more at ease. And this is what Captain’s Club members like David W. Schwartz do best.

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Farmers To Apply For Conservation Programs

Montrose, PA – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture, is currently accepting applications for conservation programs to protect the soil, water, animal habitat, plants, and air quality throughout Pennsylvania. Farmers who are interested in receiving benefits from Farm Bill conservation programs should visit their local USDA Service Center to apply.

Farmers in PA can work with their NRCS conservation professionals to develop a conservation plan for their farm. Those plans contain conservation practices to conserve and improve the natural resources while sustaining the economy of the farm. Conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), and the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) can help to repay qualifying farmers a portion of their expenses for installing specific conservation practices.

With the recent Presidential signing of the Omnibus funding bill, NRCS has begun its allocation of dollars for specific conservation programs to each state. While they have not yet received their funding, states are learning what their allocations will be. With that information, the process for prioritizing applications can be scheduled.

"We accept applications on a continuous basis for all Farm Bill programs except for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program which has a specific announced sign-up," said Bruce Baessler, NRCS soil conservationist for Susquehanna County. "For EQIP, we will start the evaluation process to select and award conservation contracts for FY04 on March 5, 2004. Farmers can keep applying after March 5 and their applications will be considered during the next evaluation period."

Ranking criteria for each program are established by the State Conservationist in consultation with the State Technical Committee, a group of representatives from private, state, federal, and local agencies and organizations as well as farmer representatives. For information on conservation programs and how to sign up, contact your local NRCS office, 278–1011, ext. 101.

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